Purchasing let property: T gone, someone else occupies

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    Purchasing let property: T gone, someone else occupies

    I was in the process of buying a property when, the day before exchange of contract was due to take place, the estate agent (who is also currently managing the property) discovered that (a) the tenant named on the tenancy agreement could no longer be contacted and (b) property is only occupied by the boyfriend (or possibly the ex-boyfriend) of the named tenant and he has made all the rent payment for the last four months.

    I had known that the boyfriend lived at the property, and had been given the impression they were very much a couple.

    Subsequent enquiries have revealed that the occupant was made redundant about two months ago and missed the last rental payment. The tenant has still not responded to email, phone and text messages. The fixed terms of the tenancy ended several months ago, so it is now a periodic tenancy.

    I was happy to purchase the property with a named sitting tenant but the situation seems far more complex now.

    How would you proceed? Would you continue to purchase the property? What precautions would you take? What would you do about the occupant?

    I appreciate that these are fairly general questions but I am trying to identify and evaluate as many options as possible therefore all suggestions, thoughts and especially relevant experience would be most welcome.

    Many thanks, Philip

    #2
    The fact that (ex)boyfriend has paid rent, which has been accepted, has probably created a tenancy.

    When did named tenant move in, and how long was their contract for?

    Comment


      #3
      Originally posted by PRX8 View Post
      I was in the process of buying a property when, the day before exchange of contract was due to take place, the estate agent (who is also currently managing the property) discovered that (a) the tenant named on the tenancy agreement could no longer be contacted and (b) property is only occupied by the boyfriend (or possibly the ex-boyfriend) of the named tenant and he has made all the rent payment for the last four months.

      I had known that the boyfriend lived at the property, and had been given the impression they were very much a couple.

      Subsequent enquiries have revealed that the occupant was made redundant about two months ago and missed the last rental payment. The tenant has still not responded to email, phone and text messages. The fixed terms of the tenancy ended several months ago, so it is now a periodic tenancy.

      I was happy to purchase the property with a named sitting tenant but the situation seems far more complex now.

      How would you proceed? Would you continue to purchase the property? What precautions would you take? What would you do about the occupant?

      I appreciate that these are fairly general questions but I am trying to identify and evaluate as many options as possible therefore all suggestions, thoughts and especially relevant experience would be most welcome.

      Many thanks, Philip
      Ask the solicitor handling your purchase. Do not rely on V and, still less, on V's Letting Agent.
      JEFFREY SHAW, solicitor [and Topic Expert], Nether Edge Law*
      1. Public advice is believed accurate, but I accept no legal responsibility except to direct-paying private clients.
      2. Telephone advice: see http://www.landlordzone.co.uk/forums/showthread.php?t=34638.
      3. For paid advice about conveyancing/leaseholds/L&T, contact me* and become a private client.
      4. *- Contact info: click on my name (blue-highlight link).

      Comment


        #4
        In response to Snorkerz, the named tenant moved in during Feb 2009 and the fixed term ended Feb 2010. The tenancy has continue as a periodic tenancy pending the sale of the property. The rent has been accepted from the occupant by the agent.

        There is nothing in the Tenancy Agreement regarding the treatment of "Any person other than the Tenant who pays the rent due ...."

        In response to Jeffrey, I am going to speak with my solicitor (they are away for a couple of days) but I am trying to do it from a position of some knowledge - especially as they didn't spot this issue! It only came to light when I asked my solicitor to ask the V solicitor about the apportionment of rent and the treatment of the security deposit for the third time - the questions were ignored / avoided the first two times it was asked.

        Would the Purchasers solicitor normally check if (a) they was no rent arrears and (b) the tenant is still in situ and contactable?

        Comment


          #5
          But, if T no longer resides, the SPT cannot be continuing- only the named resident AST tenant has such continuation rights.
          JEFFREY SHAW, solicitor [and Topic Expert], Nether Edge Law*
          1. Public advice is believed accurate, but I accept no legal responsibility except to direct-paying private clients.
          2. Telephone advice: see http://www.landlordzone.co.uk/forums/showthread.php?t=34638.
          3. For paid advice about conveyancing/leaseholds/L&T, contact me* and become a private client.
          4. *- Contact info: click on my name (blue-highlight link).

          Comment


            #6
            In days of yore when I did my own conveyancing, the books went on about a pre-completion inspection. This was an inspection carried out by the purchaser or, more usually, on behalf of him to ensure that the vendor was able to give vacant possession - as promised in the contract. i.e. no unknown person had crept in to occupy the premises between the vendor moving out and the contract being completed. Guess what happened to me! Fortunately, when I mentioned a pre-completion inspection, vendor's solicitor made enquiries, extablished the truth and advised me that he could not complete! It was all sorted in the end but it took a while.
            In your case, you have not signed the contract so you have an easy get out if necessary. As Jeffrey has posted - your solicitor MUST be consulted as a matter of urgency.

            P.P.
            Any information given in this post is based on my personal experience as a landlord, what I have learned from this and other boards and elsewhere. It is not to be relied on. Definitive advice is only available from a Solicitor or other appropriately qualified person.

            Comment


              #7
              Thanks P.P., rest assured I have the contract in my possession so no slip-ups can occur!

              I was originally happy to take the property with a sitting tenant (and her boyfriend) as they were in full time professional employment. Now the tenant is missing and the boyfriend unemployed.

              Comment


                #8
                My understanding of this (which may now be irrelevant if you are not going to complete) is that the original tenancy ended after 12 months, as the tenant no longer occupied the property. A new, non-written, tenancy has been created with BF. While he is paying rent, he will be difficult to remove until he tenancy is at least 6 months old.

                There may be further complications relating to deposits, I would steer well clear until you can be guaranteed vacant possession - let the former owner sort out their own mess!

                Comment

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